Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Review of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 220

Lawrence Person writes "Given how the series itself touches on so many topics near and dear to the hearts of Slashdotters everywhere, I thought my review of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (first season) at Locus Online would be of interest. It is longer and more in-depth than the average review, and touches on GitS:SAC's relationship to obvious cyberpunk and postcyberpunk source material, the elements that make it unique among anime science fiction, the role of P2P networks in popularizing anime, and how GitS:SAC compares to the other great science fiction TV show currently on the air right now, Battlestar Galactica."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Review of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Comments Filter:
  • by jibjibjib ( 889679 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @04:42AM (#14480465) Journal
    I have prevented any lame trolls from getting the first post.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Monday January 16, 2006 @04:42AM (#14480466) Journal
    It's rewarding to compare Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complexto the only other great science fiction show on TV right now, the new Battlestar Galatica, as both have the same overriding theme: What does it mean to be human, and where is the line between man and machine?.
    This question was about the only thing that I liked about the show. Maybe I'm the only slashdot reader who feels this way, but the Ghost in the Shell material always seemed pretty heavy and kind of inaccessible to me. I liked the issues posed by the above question but the technical jargon they use and details they go into sometimes causes me to turn the channel. There are other anime series (like Evengelion [clara.net]) that I feel suffer greatly when they are bogged down by a lot of pseudoscience explanations.

    I still own and enjoy many anime series, however. As I'm sure all slashdot readers are familiar with, Shinichiro Watanabe [wikipedia.org] has two series that are particularly well done. Cowboy Bebop [wikipedia.org] and Samurai Champloo [wikipedia.org] are two series that I particularly enjoy. They have great plot lines that usually don't depend too heavily on the viewer to know a lot of background knowledge about the technology used in the show. Watanabe seems to be a master at taking pretty simple plot lines and mixing in great characters to get a light anime that's easy to enjoy. On top of that, those two series amazingly blend together two different genres and cultures which probably make them even more appealing to myself.

    Then, there's another kind of anime I really like--which is old school hack-and-slash animes such as Vampire Hunter D [wikipedia.org]. Again, you can pretty much sum the movies into one sentence and you don't need much else. Great stuff to throw popcorn in your mouth to.

    Maybe I'm just a stupid American who wants cheap entertainment that I don't have to work for, but I sure hate watching a show and not being able to understand what's going on if I missed the other episodes.
    • From my limited experience of anime (I've seen a few more unusual ones though) I can confirm that Cowboy Bebop does appear to kick ass, having seen the first four episodes I think. Next time I'm in the USA I'll make a point of renting the rest of them with my friend.

      Of course, Hellsing is totally sweet. It has a Scottish Paladin!
    • I've really enjoyed the entire Ghost in the Shell series. The bits that attracted me appear to be the bits that turned you off... I own all of J.D. Salinger's works and enjoyed the tie-ins. I also really enjoyed the philosophical monologs and side issues. And I'm glad they got rid of the ridiculous outfit, for the most part, the Major had in the original series as I felt it detracted from the overall effect.

      I also think that many anime pieces fall flat when they try to make an extensive (and often ludicr
      • by Crayon Kid ( 700279 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @08:50AM (#14481265)
        And I'm glad they got rid of the ridiculous outfit, for the most part, the Major had in the original series as I felt it detracted from the overall effect.

        Kusanagi has had quite a different personality in all instances she'd showed up so far. In the manga she is good looking (cute face, great body, big tits) and has a spunky, playful personality. This is going to appear quite strange, I suspect, to people who only ever saw the movie or the series. But it falls in line with many of Masamune Shirow's female characters. Think of Leona in New Dominion Tank Police.

        In the first Ghost in the Shell movie the guys that made it went with a very serious Kusanagi, and they made her not quite a beautiful, she has a much more common face and features compared to what you usually see in anime. It was great, IMO, because it matches the mood of the movie much better.

        Finally, in both series Kusanagi is once again a bombshell, but she keeps the serious personality. This production had yet another different bunch of makers (director, screenwriters, character design).

        To each their own, I say, I consider they succeeded in giving each production their own life. It's hard to imagine the Major in the movie or the series laughing or saying "neeeh!", but then I wouldn't want to even if I liked the manga imensely.
    • Check out Serial Experiments Lain [wikipedia.org].
      Geeks will love it (especially the Mac/NeXT crowd) as it's filled with more or less obscure geek/hacker references. Beware though, SEL is pretty fscking weird.

      If you really are "a stupid american who wants cheap entertainment", then I'm guessing this isn't for you. But I'm also guessing that you aren't, so maybe it is.
      • by Dan Farina ( 711066 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @06:52AM (#14480811)
        I actually watched Lain just recently. I thought I was going insane when I thought I saw a "car" (as in Lisp car) fly by. Apparently they bothered getting some real source code from a code walker and an implementation of the game of life in Common Lisp to show on Lain's handheld computer scheme. Plus the chalkboard at one point has printfs et al on it...

        I thought that was pretty damn cool.
      • Indeed. There are plenty [cjas.org] references to various aspects of computers, so all kinds of geeks can enjoy it, not just Mac/NeXT crowd. It shows that Ueda and Yoshitoshi are both Mac addicts :)
    • Cowboy Bebop is great, as you say Watanabe has a flair for mixing genres and making it work (although I haven't watched Samurai Champloo yet). One of the things I love about anime, that you might disagree with, is the really advanced and varied story lines and concepts often seen. Topics and ideas that usually are not even dared experimenting with in American animation.

      Movies like Nekojiru-so (Cat Soup) [imdb.com] for example. Surreal, dreamy, cute and grotesque. Or, as mentioned in the article, FLCL [imdb.com].

      A series I enjoye

      • i am no anime aficionado by any means, but the samurai champloo fansubs are the best thing i have seen in probably the last two years. and i'm not confining that to anime - they are fantastically good. ok, so the hip-hop-historical style appeals to me, but it's the content and the emotion, the humanity of it... really works for me. i highly recommend finding these fansubs.

        the show is amazingly well-crafted: beautifully animated, great rhythm and flow to the plot and the scenes, wonderful sense of humor.
    • You apparently don't watch much in the way of drama, do you? With any good series you'll feel as though you missed something if you fail to see certain episodes. GiTS is no different. Some of the episodes actually can be skipped (although why you'd want to is beyond me), such as the one from season 2 where a combat veteran turned pilot continuously fantasizes about murdering his employer. It has little to nothing to do with the overall story arc, and could easily be missed without damaging your sense of
    • by Stan Vassilev ( 939229 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @07:22AM (#14480882)
      "This question was about the only thing that I liked about the show. Maybe I'm the only slashdot reader who feels this way, but the Ghost in the Shell material always seemed pretty heavy and kind of inaccessible to me."

      This is an overall trend in Japanese sci-fi and horror.

      Basically, Japan authors are not afraid that their audience won't 100% "get it". The way our brain works, you need to think about what's happening, and what you do NOT know is sometimes the best part of the experience, it makes you involved in the story than just a side spectator of a well laid out story.

      In the real world you never know everything, that keeps you moving and progressing through life. Japanese authors simply bring this element in their films. We can't expect to jump 150 years into the future and instantly know everything.

      Imagine someone from 1850 having to deal with our transportation system, credit cards, software, mp3 players and what not.

      In the case of horror films, what is scarrier: that some alien worms are just spread around town squirting nasty things into people which makes them die while spraying alien jelly stuff over everything (Slither) or the silent, spooky and mysterios characters of Japanese horror films like the Grudge and Ringu.

      For the latter, you'll notice the originals are better than their US counterparts for the most part. The US movie makers simply felt the need to have more CGI and dumb down the story into something everyone can understand. Each approach has its benefits, but I'm certainly a fan of the Japanese approach.

      Similar with GITS, do I understand 100% of all the tech slang and philosophical references? No, but this doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy every second of it. It also increases the replay value of the series incredibly.
      • In the case of horror films, what is scarrier: that some alien worms are just spread around town squirting nasty things into people which makes them die while spraying alien jelly stuff over everything...

        Sounds like that one sorority party I went to once in college.
      • "In the case of horror films, what is scarrier: that some alien worms are just spread around town squirting nasty things into people which makes them die while spraying alien jelly stuff over everything (Slither) or the silent, spooky and mysterios characters of Japanese horror films like the Grudge and Ringu."

        I can deal with a little girl throwing a temper tantrum like in The Ring. Alien worms give me the creeps though.

    • Well, not *entirely* inaccessible, but certainly by design.

      Shirow has said he is trying to achieve an effect much like that if a comic book set in the present day (dealing realistically with our technology, politics and philosophy) fell back in time a few hundred years... would the person who picked it up be able to understand everything in it?

      Not likely.

      So GITS is similar... only *we're* the poor schmuck in the distant past trying to make sense of it all without all the external social and technical knowle
    • The box art of Ghost in the Shell introduced me to anime when I was 11 or 12 years old. The first anime (thought I had not idea it was anime, or Japanimation as we called it) I watched was Robotech. But GitS made me realize a serious, adult storyline could be expressed in animation. I have never choked on the psuedo-science and do not dwell on the power requirments, bandwidth requirements and machine-to-organic interfaces required by the show. As for silly suits, have you ever scene Aeon Flux's outfit o

      • huh, interesting... i have almost the opposite reaction. bebop is nice, entertaining... but i feel like champloo has a real sort of soul that bebop just doesn't quite get moving. the music i'll leave out of it - they each have their strengths in terms of their place in the show (though maybe bebop's is 'better').

        i guess it's the wrap-up that really pushes me to my opinion. i have never been a fan of the typical man-woman-entanglement stuff. untypical stuff, sure, but not the depressingly typical stuff i
      • Noir has a somewhat weak ending, I felt that it hit the fevered pitch a bit too early and have barely watched ep 26. I may revise that opinion if I ever go back and watch it again.

        Madlax is extremely enigmatic and enticing, but I've only seen the first dozen episodes. I usually have the desire to go play FarCry or Call of Duty: United Offensive after watching Madlax.

        Bebop is excellent anime. A bit more humourous then some would like, but similar to Trigun in intensity / emotion / comedy. (The music
    • A couple of other great Animes would be Rahxephon, Parallel Dual, Martian Successor Nadesico, Elfen Lied, Bleach, Full Metal Alchemist.....There are soo many.....Escaflowne, Macross, Last Exile, Read Or Die....

      I'd have to say Champloo and Bebop are among the best. Rahxephon had a couple of good episodes, and I liked the ending. Bleach is an ongoing series.

      However, a lot of the main character devices are the same. Protecting others/loved ones, or becoming better. Almost all of them kind of rotate around thos
      • Oh, a couple of others I forgot: Full Metal Panic (all three series), Irresponsible Captian Tyler, Saiyuki (hate the voice acting in the second series), Sol Bianca, and of course, the Star Blazer series.

        I'm sure I'm missing some others as well......
  • About time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ours ( 596171 )
    Season two ("Second GIG") is finished and a third one is rumored. Was about time people started talking about it (outside anime-centric sites that is :-)). My advise: if you watched the movies and found them to hard to follow, don't worry. The series are closer to the source material and despite some odd episodes (like the one covering a online chat session and nothing more), it's really worth it. The season finale is incredible.
  • I'm interested in watching much more Ghost in the Shell and getting caught up with it- I watched what I believe to be the first movie from 1995 [amazon.co.uk] a few months ago but I'm not sure if i've jumped in in the middle of the story.

    Could someone in the know please tell the noobs here what we should watch to get everything in, and what order we should watch it in. I'm mildy offtopic but I think if this review has piqued anyone's interest, some info on how to catch up on what we've missed would be excellent.

    Tha
    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @05:39AM (#14480626) Journal
      The feeling you might get with the first movie that you landed in the middle of something bigger is a plot device. The real story, what is live or however you want to phrase it, sits within the movie BUT the conspiracy and the agents fighting it sit outside it.

      This is just a way to tell a story. The other way is to introduce a story from the very beginning to the very end, but this means you can spend far less time on the middle. Sci-Fi like this wich at least pretends to want to ask a moral question without force feeding you the answer doesn't really have an "ending" anyway. It just puts a situation to you and then asks you to consider it.

      So don't worry about feeling there are things happening outside the picture (as in motion picture clever pun ne?... though crowd) there are. They just don't matter. Well UNTIL the movie became very popular and they could be used to make sequels and prequels out of it.

      Should you read the manga? Well perhaps, is a bit like asking wether you should watch the animatrix before watching the matrix movies. If your a fan then sure, gobble it all up. If not, well you started with the movie. That is a nice introduction BUT it was based on a manga (strip/comic). You might want to start here. The manga spawned a sequel with the imaginative name Ghost in the Shell 2 (yeah those crazy japanese). This in turn spawned a tv series. And finally a movie.

      If you really want to know the story, read the manga. It is what everything else is based on. Just be warned that it has a different style.

      Oh and if you decide to plunge in to the seedy underbelly of the net that is the anime/manga forum please do not proudly boast that you watched ghost in the shell. It is kinda of like going to a sci-fi con having only seen Star Wars. Or like posting on /. using windows XP.

    • by TechieHermit ( 944255 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @05:56AM (#14480669) Journal
      I've got them all in my collection, so here's my opinion:

      First, watch the first and second Ghost in the Shell movies. Watch the older Ghost in the Shell first, in which Motoko encounters the Puppet Master and merges with him. Then, watch Innocence, which deals with how Bateau handles her disappearance and reveals a lot about how they feel about each other. Great quote from the second movie: "let a man walk alone, let him commit no sin, with few wishes, like an elephant in the forest". This quote is partial; it comes from Buddha's Dharmapada Sutra. The full passage is:

      "329. If a man find no prudent companion who walks with him, is wise,
      and lives soberly, let him walk alone, like a king who has left his
      conquered country behind,--like an elephant in the forest.

      330. It is better to live alone, there is no companionship with a
      fool; **let a man walk alone, let him commit no sin, with few wishes,
      like an elephant in the forest**."

      My understanding of this is, Motoko was Bateau's "prudent companion" and since he can't travel with her, he would prefer to live alone. No one else can fill that role for him. Deep.

      Once you've enjoyed the two movies, then I'd tackle the series. The series is basically about Section 9 prior to the disappearance of Motoko. Some people think it's an alternate universe, but I like to think of it as simply the period before she merged with the net. If you read the original manga, there was a huge amount of activity before she merged. Lots of those stories haven't found their way into anime yet. And the second manga volume deals with the period after she merges and splits off into a number of different artificial intelligences. So I like to think about it this way:

      Period 1: Before merger with Puppet Master: Section 9 has various adventures, ultimately leading up to the puppet master incident. Many of the adventures are unrelated.

      Period 2: After merger with Puppet Master: Motoko has merged with an AI, and has split into a number of AIs, and is being studied by her former bosses, who think there are going to be serious ramifications of her change, and that there's some kind of cosmic transcendence about to occur (this is in the manga, not the movies or series).

      I view the series as taking place in period 1, the first GITS movie in period 1, and the second movie (Innocence) as taking place in period 2, but not at the same time as the second manga, which would have been years later.

      Enjoy! It's some of the best sci-fi available anywhere.

    • The movies and the tv series (1st Gig and 2nd Gig) are actually stories that exist in alternate universes. The movies and the tv series can be watched independently of each other, since both universes' storylines are self-contained.

      In the movie universe, the events in the first movie (GITS) happen before the events in the second movie (GITS:Innocence), so it is best to watch in chronological order. Ditto for the episodes of the TV series. The TV series, however, is premised on a what-if-this-event-did-no
    • Particularly the short story "The Laughing Man", which can be found online, and of course "The Catcher in the Rye".

      You cannot fully understand the series without understanding these works.
  • GITS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bioglaze ( 767105 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @05:00AM (#14480512) Homepage Journal
    Odd, that the series hasn't had more attention on /., because it touches the subjects that slashdotters are sensitive to. GITS tries very logically to describe tomorrow's hi-tech world, where giant corporations are in power and government can easily spy on anyone (wait, it's not tomorrow's world :). I also like the political depth of GITS, because it places constraints on what is possible to do, and thereby makes the series more realistic.
    • On the contrary; it's one of my favorite shows and I have the first 2 and a half seasons sitting on my MythTV box. It's one of the few I make a point to watch every week (along with The Boondocks, which is probably the funniest show on TV right now.) I have to say the third season seems more disjointed than the first two, but it's enjoyable nonetheless. If you like action anime and can handle a show that expects you to think, SAC is the show for you.
  • Tachikomas! (Score:2, Informative)

    by jiawen ( 693693 )
    The original manga had Fuchikomas [wikipedia.org], puckish AI tanks. The Ghost in the Shell movie sorely lacked them. The series finally got this right (in a slightly modified form as Tachikomas [wikipedia.org]). In fact, the movie lacked a lot of the manga's cool innovations and feel, while the series came much closer. It almost seems like Masamune Shirow had more input into the series, but it's hard to know.
  • by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @05:11AM (#14480552) Journal
    I'm a real sucker for the Tachikoma.

    Something about having AIs with child-like curiosity (and voices to match---well, at least in the original audio, not so much in the dub (however, despite my being a sub snob, I will admit that the dub is acceptable to watch)) in high-performance, well-armed machines really does it for me.
    • By less than a second, even.
    • They and the other machines are beautifully animated as well. One of my favourite machines in the first season is the "spider" tank in the second episode or so. They just managed to animate it so that you can really see the weight when it moves around.
    • Sherry Lynn's [imdb.com] voice was adorable in (for example) the Tenchi Muyo series, but hearing it come out of the Tachikomas makes me want to gouge my ears out with extra long Q-tips.

      That said, the English dub is actually really well done - it sticks to the script (at least, as translated in the subtitles), which is no easy feat considering how thick the script can get; and with the exception of a few odd pauses here and there to sync up with mouth movements, it's orders of magnitude better than English anime dubs f
    • I'm a real sucker for the Tachikoma.

      Then you should really look up the Tachikoma specials series. It's a series of very short bits (under one minute per episode), and I have no idea how long it runs. I found about 30 episodes in fansub circles.

      Each episode is basically an amusing skit featuring Tachikomas exclusively, often inside their own virtual network. They are chock-full of everything you probably love about them, ranging from existential debates to a humorous instance of a too-curious-for-its-own-goo
      • The Tachikoma skits appear at the end of each episode on the DVD, just like they did during the original Japanese broadcasts. Most of the time they are humorous takes on the events of the episodes they follow, but sometimes they really go off the end. Supposedly they take place in a virtual world where they are sharing data after the end of their missions. And they've continued them on the GitS:SAC:2nd Gig DVDs, as well.

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @05:14AM (#14480562) Homepage Journal
    The reviewer states that the first season will set you back about a benjamin if you buy it on DVD. Meanwhile, a season of the Simpsons or Futurama is at most $40, and you can get it for under $30 if you are good at hunting bargains, so why is anime so much more expensive? I know it costs a little more to produce, plus you have translations etc. but I fail to see how that is $60 worth of services. However, the Americans can buy it for much cheaper than in Japan or as far as I can tell Europe(It's about $60 per dvd for some series in Japan, and I saw a bunch of anime at a comic book shop in Austria going for no less than 30 euros. But that same store was also selling a snoop dog action figure for 65, so they may not be representative)
    I'd buy more anime if it was priced sa
    • nely.
      Joke about previewing comment here.
    • I was actually able to pick up season one and season two (haven't watched either yet) at a Media Play store closing for around $100 US. The whole anime section was the only thing left worth visiting in the otherwise empty store.
    • The reviewer states that the first season will set you back about a benjamin if you buy it on DVD. Meanwhile, a season of the Simpsons or Futurama is at most $40, and you can get it for under $30 if you are good at hunting bargains, so why is anime so much more expensive?

      I find, if you measure your purchases in hamiltons instead of benjamins, things suddenly seem a lot more affordable.
    • Well, shows like the Simpsons have already made their money through advertising and the such while they were airing, so not much money has to be made from DVD sales. Furthermore, I'd be inclined to think the market for Simpsons DVDs is probably a lot bigger than your typical anime show. Hence, there probably is a lot more Simpsons DVDs being pressed than any particular anime show, which means DVDs can be made cheaper.

      Lastly, anime licensing companies have a lot of fixed costs per show that they must offse
    • Japanese pricing (Score:2, Informative)

      by PackerX ( 727195 )
      In Japan, anime DVD's are much more expensive. In the case of series, they tend to pay per episode as opposed to per disc. A single disc with three episodes could cost $45 or more. If prices in the US were drastically lower, most people in Japan would simply import their anime from us. If that happened, the Japanese companies would stop licensing source material to the US because it would cost them too much money.
      • Why is it our problem if anime producers are ripping off the japanese market? THe american anime market is larger now, the japanese are shooting themselves (and the american distro companies) by keeping the prices inflated.
      • Interesting, that's comprarable to the typical high-street price of a three-episode disc in the UK (£20). Entire-season sets seem to be much more affordable however--Amazon have the first season of Standalone Complex for £30, and the entire Cowboy Bebop for £60.
      • Sometimes if you wait long enough, you can get anime for drastically lower prices. If you look at some of ADV Films box sets, you can get an entire series for $90 or even $60 that originally retailed for $180 or more ($30 per DVD for 6+ DVDs.) of course these box sets may come out a year or two after the first DVD or the series is released... if you check out rightstuf.com, they also have weekly specials, and they sometimes have these type of box sets for 25% to 50% off.
    • Actually, it's a common myth that anime is cheap in Japan. Maybe you're thinking of hongkong? Anime is a nitch market both in Japan and abroad, thus it ganers nitch market prices. Japanese media is also more expensive in general.

      Stand Alone complex season 2 discs run 8154yen (around 80 dollars) a DVD at most stores, and 6552 yen on Amazon.co.jp

      1st season seems to run around 5040 yen/DVD
      • Re-read my post:
        However, the Americans can buy it for much cheaper than in Japan or as far as I can tell Europe(It's about $60 per dvd for some series in Japan, and I saw a bunch of anime at a comic book shop in Austria going for no less than 30 euros. But that same store was also selling a snoop dog action figure for 65, so they may not be representative)
        I am aware of how expensive anime is in Japan, which is why I pointed it out by saying "Americans can buy it for much cheaper than in Japan" :P
    • You may want to check out the Hong Kong DVD packs. I've got the first season in a 6 DVD pack for only 40$. It's legal but hard to find. The shops prefer to sell the more expensive 1-2 episode DVD packs going 30$ a pop.
      • You may want to check out the Hong Kong DVD packs. . . . It's legal but hard to find.

        Unfortunately, most of the anime DVDs (and, increasingly, other DVDs) that people buy from Hong Kong are bootlegs. For example, the legitimate HK versions of Stand Alone Complex Season 1 are sold in 2 boxsets of 4 DVDs each, for about $45 US [dddhouse.com] a pop [dddhouse.com]. True, it's cheaper than the ~$120-$150 that the first season will run you in the U.S., but it's definitely not $40. Legitmate releases are also typically (but not always) R

    • This Price *IS* Sane (Score:4, Informative)

      by EXTomar ( 78739 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @09:28AM (#14481470)
      If you take a look at CD Japan and look at how much new region 2 disks are to the Japanese and do your own conversions into Euro/Dollars/Whatever, we are getting a deal. Fate/stay night 1 [Limited Edition] (which is HOT at the moment), is episode 1-3 listed 6190 Yen so it will probably end up being between $55-$50US. Sometime next year, Gennon will release it in the US for about $30 for the same 3 episodes with other goodies (like a box). We are not only getting shows that are filtered (the less popular shows are not offered, material on DVD is often revised and reedited), we are getting it cheaper.

      The fact of the matter is that they are charging exactly how much the market seems to support. Anime is now and probably always will be a "fringe element of a fringe element". To make money at the sales rate they support they have to charge this much, which it seems the market is willing pay. In any event, if they are making money now at what is deemed "expensive" what incentive do they have to lower? It is all market forces.

      BTW, if you an entire series that seems too cheap, it is probably a bootleg (there are exception but few and far between). Buy it if you wish but realize almost almost nil of any of that money is going back to the talent or producers.
  • For me, the Tachicomas were nauseatingly cute, and the worst part of the series. Think the personality of a perky 12 year old japanese school girl (including voice) in the body of of spider-ish police tank.

    Slightly off-topic, I just found you can buy the Babylon 5 Complete Universe [amazon.co.uk] box. All the series, all the films in a single, reasonably priced package. 41 DVDs in all. *drool*
  • GITS and Complexity (Score:5, Informative)

    by Misao-Chan ( 181020 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @06:05AM (#14480696) Homepage
    One thing that's rather glossed over is Shirow Masamune's writing style itself. The manga in original Japanese was very complex, and written in mostly in kanji (chinese characters) which has caused even the average Japanese difficulties in understanding it. To give you an idea of the use of kanji, the common Japanese only needs to know about 500 or so kanji to be literate, resorting to hiragana and katakana the rest of the time. The common Chinese needs 1200 (Since it's all chinese characters).

    This is very normal of Shirow's style as his writing and stories and a partial reason of why his stories are quite intricate. To give you an idea, it would be like comparing the writing styles of JK Rowling to William Gibson, one is very simple and easy to read, the other is very high-level and in-depth. Even Shirow's earlier works like Appleseed (Which is also very good), Black Magic, Dominion Tank Police, etc., are very detailed and intricate if you dig down into the origial versions of them, which unfortuantely is lost when much of it is translated. Even the bloke that brought the material over (I can't remember his name, Terrance-something-or-other I think), and knows the reclusive Shirow once complained that even he had problems).

    The complexity of the socio-economoic, political, and contempoary moral issues that is personified in GITS:SAC is what sets it apart from shows like Cowboy Bebop (Which I also loved, I'm still trying to find one of the limited edition box sets). It's in a different genre of anime (yes there are a ton of genres in Anime) and definitely not comparable to Cowboy Bebop. Both are fun, likable, and are a treat for your senses, but CB is more entertainment while GITS:SAC is more a commentary. It's like Starship Troopers vs. 2010; They're both movies about space, but you watch one to be entertained, and you watch the other to be inspired.

    GITS:SAC actually takes place pre-GITS manga, but does overlap and transmutate into some section of the manga. Avid GITS fans will draw the parallel of Kusanagi getting snipered in the TV series, and her body getting shot in the manga, as well as many other similarities that do occur between the two. It's one of those "Let's retell the story, but change a few things around to make it work, even though it'll screw up the interdepencies". Any avid Asian film buff will know what I'm talking about, it happens quite often even in "live" movies (i.e. Windstruck and My Sassy Girl).

    One other thing to mention is that the 2 movies were Oshii's movies. Oshii tends to take this weird spin on the GITS world, and often leave out a lot of the details Shirow puts in, and more often than naught, substitutes his own views and imagery in (Read: the damn basset hounds). If anyone's ever seen Oshii's "Avalon", you'll know what I'm talking about. The style and subject matter is the same as the 2 GITS movies, and so is the way he presents his imagery (and the damn basset hounds again). Shirow has always defered creative control to Oshii in the movies, but has retained it, and works very closely with Production IG for the SAC series. Hence, this is much more true to the feel of the original manga, and is greatly departed from the movies, hence the additional complexity. It's almost an impossibility to compare the TV series (both of them) to the movie due to the differences in direction.
    • the common Japanese only needs to know about 500 or so kanji to be literate, resorting to hiragana and katakana the rest of the time. The common Chinese needs 1200 (Since it's all chinese characters).
      Huh? If all you want to read is children's stories than maybe, but there are about 2000 "everyday use" characters determined by the government, and well over 1000 of them are taught before grade 6. Chinese meanwhile has well over 2000 characters(though the government eliminated many more when organizing the
    • by BJH ( 11355 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @06:39AM (#14480775)
      Er... bullshit on the kanji talk.

      The "standard" set of Japanese Kanji, as taught in schools, is around 1200 (depending on which version of the various standards you're using). This is usually referred to as the Toyo Kanji or the more modern Joyo Kanji ("Everyday Chinese characters"). Everybody knows these inside-out (with the possible exception of those educated around wartime, who may have had limited access to schooling).

      To be a functional adult in some kind of specialised field takes a bit more than that - 2000 kanji being about a minimum, and if you're into things like period literature or heavily technical material, that can easily be far more.

      In terms of computing-related standards, the JIS level 1 and level 2 standards cover nearly 7,000 kanji, while the level 3 and 4 standards (which are admittedly rarely implemented) provide for another 4000+.

      500 kanji is about end-of-primary-school level.

      In any case, the reason GitS was hard to follow was not because of the kanji used - the vocabulary was fairly technical, making it difficult for those without the applicable education to follow. The kanji used were nothing particularly unusual.
      • Er... bullshit on the kanji talk.

        The "standard" set of Japanese Kanji, as taught in schools, is around 1200 (depending on which version of the various standards you're using). This is usually referred to as the Toyo Kanji or the more modern Joyo Kanji ("Everyday Chinese characters"). Everybody knows these inside-out (with the possible exception of those educated around wartime, who may have had limited access to schooling).

        Well, whenever kanji comes up, there is always an argument about how many are needed

    • by kahei ( 466208 )

      Hrm, you're not very good with the Far Eastern languages, are you?

      The manga in original Japanese was very complex, and written in mostly in kanji (chinese characters) which has caused even the average Japanese difficulties in understanding it.

      The average Japanese preteen, possibly. It ain't exactly rocket science, though.


      To give you an idea of the use of kanji, the common Japanese only needs to know about 500 or so kanji to be literate


      2000 for basic literacy. More if you want to read books for fun, or if
    • It's like Starship Troopers vs. 2010; They're both movies about space, but you watch one to be entertained, and you watch the other to be inspired.

      Everyone else is griping about your BS language knowledge, but I'd like to gripe about this:

      Why the hell would you use 2010: Odyssey Two as an example of an inspirational movie and not 2001: A Space Odyssey!? Criminy, the second movie is complete dreck compared to the first. (Although really not that bad stand-alone.)
  • I find it interesting that the author of this article assumes fansubbing is beneficial to companies. Where is the evidence? I searched google for a while but couldn't find much that was relevant. Slashdot should be based on fact, not on faith.

    My experience runs just the opposite. I know a few big anime fans who don't download fansubs. They own thousands of dollars worth of anime each. I also know a few who are into the piracy game. They own a few particular series, but that is all. I am sure a fe
    • I think that the general opinion is that it can be good, and bad.

      For a good series, a fansub will generate a lot of interest, and mostly people (well... at lease most of the people i know) will go and buy it on DVD when it comes out. Because it is a "must have" in their collection.

      But, for an average series, the opposite tends to happen, people will watch the fansub, then they probably won't bother to buy it on DVD when it comes out because they've already seen it, and it wasn't good enough for them t
      • that don't need help. Things like GITS, Full Metal Alchemist, and Naruto (to name some recent examples) where huge in Japan and obviously destined to be big in the US as well. I do not think that fan-subbing helped such series in any way, while reducing their sales among the download-and-rarely-buy crowd.

        You are right - bad series are also hurt by fan-subbing. That only leaves near-mythical "good series that no one would have known about" as the hypothetical beneficiaries.

        Let's see: good+popular=l
    • Re:Fansubbing (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vertinox ( 846076 )
      Its a bit different now, but I knew fansubbing clubs back in teh 90's that would only release things that weren't released State side. Mostly because they were aware of copyright violations and internet p2p hadn't taken off then.

      From my recolection many series would not have been released in the states if it had not been for the Fansubbers and the reaction to those tapes going around. Even if you did get a VHS copy from Japan you still wouldn't know what they are saying.

      But today we have the internet and th
    • provide me with at least anecdotal evidence of someone who seriously follows the "download lots of fan subs, but still spends thousands on anime" model?

      I can do better than anecdotal. I do that. I use fansubs as a filter method, to determine which ones I actually would like to own. For instance, I saw the Cowboy Bebop movie as a fansub first, and still saw it in the theater 3 times with various people. And I own the DVD.

      I first watched Elfen Lied as a fansub, and am in the process of rounding up all those D
    • Can anyone provide links to the economic effects of piracy in this market, the corporate responses to piracy, or provide me with at least anecdotal evidence of someone who seriously follows the "download lots of fan subs, but still spends thousands on anime" model?

      I'm probably not too representative of all anime fans, but I can definitely provide anecdotal evidence. I've downloaded about half a terabyte of fansubs in all, and also have hundreds of anime DVDs (all legit nonbootleg R1's).

      The real distinc

      • How much anime would you have bought without fan-subbing? Do you really think that you could not get the same information from teasers, reviews (internet and magazine), and word of mouth? That is how I do it. Strangely enough, I seem to know about the series everyone here keeps listing as things they discovered because fan-subbing.

        Second, for every one of you, there are at least as many people who download like you but buy little or nothing. Does your hypothetical increase in buying offset their decr
        • You raise good points. I'm pretty sure I'm an outlier and in no way representative of anime watchers as a whole, but your earlier post specifically asked about anecdotal evidence of someone who watches lots of fansubs and still buys lots of DVDs, and as someone who meets that description, I wanted to reply to it.

          As for your questions, without the benefit of fansubs, I would still buy a frightning amount of anime. I'd wind up with a few more volume 1 of series that I decide not to pick up the rest of, a l

  • From the review: For one thing, the issue of just whether Section 9 should have quite as much power as it does is never really addressed

    That's the issue that the end of SAC focuses on, and it carries over into 2nd Gig.
  • I'm a big fan of Ghost in the Shell, but I'm still a little confused on the continuity... the first movie is based mostly on part of the first manga series. and the second movie is a continuation of that. (and now i see there's a novel out too.) but the second manga series, Man Machine Interface, seems to be completely different? and Stane Alone Complex is also completely different? I have not had a chance to see much of the series yet, but I've liked what I have seen, and I see they've already made a
  • GITS as y'all likely know, was originally a manga by Masamune Shirow. The movies and (I beleive) the TV series are by Mamoru Oshii.

    There's a lot to say, but trying not to repeat what you can just websearch for yourselves, the TV series is more of a drama, focusing on character interactions; the book is more a geeky indulgence in dreaming the extentions of future technology, eastern philosophy, and impossibly spankalicious babes.

    Which is why I mention the REAL GITS2. the second movie was Oshii's extention of

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department

Working...